From advertisement guru to yoga and spiritual gurus and from the usual mix of film stars to industrialists and academicians, including a posthumous one to Dhirubhai Ambani, this year’s list comprises 112 achievers, 19 of whom are women. Top architect Hafeez Contractor, ex-US Ambassador Robert Blackwill, dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi, vocalist Girija Devi and media baron Ramoji Rao are among the awardees
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
Art – Cinema
After winning over millions in India and abroad both with his silverscreen performance and his humility off it, Rajinikanth, among the biggest stars that there are in Indian cinema, has now won Padma Vibhushan. His ardent fans might want to say that it was the award that was honoured by being associated with their hero. “Feeling deeply honoured for being awarded the Padma Vibhushan. My heartfelt thanks to my dear fans, well wishers and friends for all the wishes,” Rajini reacted on twitter after the news about the award came out.
Dr Viswanathan Shanta
Medicine – Oncology
Even as she expressed happiness over the Padma Vibhushan honour, which she insisted was a recognition for work done by the institution, it is evident that Dr V Shanta, the leading oncologist in the country, is not elated. Though selected for the Padma trio and Magsaysay Award among countless others, she can’t help but worry about her patients who make a beeline to her institute. “Despite of all the efforts we have taken in our fight against cancer, over half of the patients who come to the (Adyar Cancer) Institute come there too late,” she told Express.
Srinivasan Damal Kandalai
It was 34 years ago that Srinivasan, an MBA graduate, who once ran businesses dealing with petroleum and FMCG products, joined hands with a doctor friend to set up medical facilities for the poor. Though it functioned from a small shed, it still was a progress from the ‘10 paise hospital’ that he ran with his doctor friends who sat under a tree on Sundays to treat poor. This went on to become a multi-disciplinary, super-specialty facility in Tambaram, Hindu Mission Hospital. He is also involved in the operation of several other organisations, including Valluvar Gurukulam.
Arunachalam Muruganantham is an inventor from Coimbatore. After much efforts, he found an inexpensive solution to unsanitary and unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. He created and patented a machine which could manufacture low-cost sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads. He received the 2009 Best Innovation Award from the then President Pratibha Patil for his mini sanitary napkin dispensing machine. He founded the company, Jayaashree Industries, which markets these machines to rural women.
Chandrasekar Shesadri Thoguluva
Medicine – Gastroenterology
Dr Chandrasekar Seshadri graduated MBBS from the Government Madurai Medical College in 1977. It was 39 long years of journey in the medical field that took him to one of the most honoured recognition in the country. “I feel happy about the award. Its a boost to moral work that will help to achieve a lot more in the field of medicine,” said Dr Chandrasekar. He has already conferred the best doctor award for medico-social services by Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and for professional excellence by Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University.
Madeleine Herman de Blic
A native of Belgium, Herman de Blic founded Volontariat, a non-government organisation in Ouppalam, Puducherry in 1962. For over five decades, she has dedicated her life for the welfare and service of the poor and downtrodden in Puducherry. The charity initially started with treating children and babies with life threatening diseases, which was coupled with a health prevention drive by teaching basic hygiene. Last year CM N Rangasamy presented her the Chief Minister’s commendation certificates and mememto in recognition of her works.
Hui Lan Zhang
Yoga began to take off in China in 1985 through a daytime television show on the state network CCTV starring Zhang Hui Lan, also known as Wai Lana, who is called the ‘mother of yoga’ in China. Zhang, wearing garlands of flowers and Hawaiian outfits, guided Chinese housewives through gentle yoga postures. Though the programme went off the air in 1999, Wai Lana’s involvement in yoga continues from her base in Hawaii and via an online shop selling her CDs and DVDs and promoting her U.S. TV appearances
MN Krishnamani had his education in Law College, Madras. He was enrolled as a lawyer in 1971, in Madras. He worked as a junior of Late MK Nambiyar and KK Venugopal from 1971–1977. In 1977, Krishnamani set up his practice as an independent lawyer. He started his practice in the Madras High Court and was prominent as a young lawyer from 1971–1981 in Madras. He specialised in Writ Jurisdiction and was known as “Writ a day lawyer” since he was appearing in at least one writ petition a day
Dr HR Nagendra
Dr H R Nagendra holds PhD in Mechanical Engineering from IISc, Bangalore, and is the president of VYASA. He is now the Chancellor of S-VYASA Deemed University. He has published 30 Research Papers in Engineering; authored and collected 110 papers on Yoga and co-authored 35 books on Yoga. After receiving his doctorate in 1968, he served as faculty of IISc in Department of Mechanical Engineering. He then served as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1969.
Literature & Education-Journalism
Cherukuri Ramoji Rao is an Indian businessman, film producer, and media entrepreneur. Born on November 16, 1936, he is the head of the Ramoji Group, which owns, among other things, the world’s largest film production facility - Ramoji Film City - and film production company Ushakiran Movies. He is also the founder of the iconic newspaper Eenadu in Andhra Pradesh. Rao was born into an agricultural family in Pedaparupudi, Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh
Ujjwal Nikam was appointed as special public prosecutor in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case, in 1994. In his 30-year legal career, Nikam has handled numerous cases, and served as public prosecutor for important trials in the State as well as national level. He has secured 628 life imprisonments and 37 death penalties. He has been provided with Z-plus security by the Government of India due to his involvement in high-profile trials, including the 2013 Mumbai gang rape, Gulshan Kumar murder, Pramod Mahajan Murder trial, Gateway of India Blast case 2003 and Ajmal Kasab trial case.
Science & Engineering
A scientist with the Indian Space Research Organisation, Annadurai is the current Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru. His earlier stints include: Programme Director for Indian Remote Sensing & Small, Science and Student satellites, including Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2, which is to be launched by 2017 end or early 2018, ASTROSAT, Aditya-1, Mars Orbiter Mission and several other Indian Remote Sensing missions. His works even find a mention in the Class 10 Science text book of Tamil Nadu. Annadurai has been listed among 100 global thinkers of 2014 and tops the Innovators list
Padma shri (post humous)
Saeed Jaffrey (late)
Art — Cinema
Saeed Jaffrey was a popular face of Hindi cinema, who was equally known for his work in British television and theatre. His versatility in multiple languages allowed him to straddle radio, stage, TV and film in a career that spanned over six decades and more than 150 British, American and Indian movies. His resonant voice made him the natural choice as narrator for audio books. His narration of the Kama Sutra titled The Art of Love (1996) was listed by Time magazine as “one of the five best spoken word records ever made. He was the first Indian to take Shakespearean plays on a tour to the US
Advertising & Communication
Piyush Pandey is an award-winning co-executive chairman and national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather India and vice-chairman of O&M Asia-Pacific. During his tenure O&M became the third-largest advertising agency in India. Notable ad campaigns in India designed by Pandey include: BJP’s general election, 2014, Fevicol, Fevikwik Cadbury Dairy Milk , Vodafone, Asian Paints and campaigns for Indian tourism. Pandey also played for the Ranji Trophy
Trade & Industry
As of the 2015 Forbes real time ranking, this businessman is the richest Indian, having surpassed the long-standing Indian on the list, Mukesh Ambani. Shanghvi is the founder and Managing Director of Sun Pharmaceuticals. He started Sun Pharmaceutical Industries with a capital of `10,000 in 1982 at Vapi. Shanghvi is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company and Shantilal Shanghvi Foundation
Ajaypal Singh Banga
Trade & Industry
An entirely India-educated financial analyst, Ajaypal Singh Banga is the current president and CEO of MasterCard Inc. US President Barack Obama, in February 2015, appointed Banga as member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Now, he is also the chairman of the US-India Business Council representing more than 300 of the largest international companies investing in India. He is also a member of board of directors of Dow Chemical Company
Art – Classical dance
Yamini Krishnamurthy, whose style is inimitable, has been for decades a symbol of the sheer power and radiance associated with Indian classical dance. Her charisma ensured her the respect and adulation of people from all walks of life ever since her debut performance in Chennai in 1957. She has already bagged several awards, including Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Yamini also has the honour of being the Asthana Nartaki (resident dancer) of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.
Shri Shri Ravi Shankar
Shri Shri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian, spiritual leader and an ambassador of peace. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. He has received numerous honours, including the highest civilian awards of Colombia, Mongolia and Paraguay. He has also been conferred with 15 honorary doctorates from around the world. Born on May 13, 1956, in Tamil Nadu, he also established a Geneva-based charity, International Association for Human Values, an NGO that does relief work.
Sports – Tennis
Sania has won 9 women’s doubles titles in 2015, including 2 Grand Slams, with Swiss great Martina Hingis. She also became World No 1 in doubles rankings. “It’s truly a humbling experience to be honoured with the Padma Bhushan award. It will inspire me to earn more laurels for my country,” said Sania from Melbourne, where she is taking part in the Australian Open and cleared preliminary hurdles in doubles as well as mixed doubles. As accolades started pouring in, Sania’s father said they would like her to focus on the job at hand. “We would not like to disturb her much,” said Imran Mirza.
Sports – Badminton
The 25-year-old, who was upset last year when she was overlooked for this award, said she was surprised to see her name in the list. “It’s a huge honour. I dedicate this to (coach) Vimal (Kumar) sir for his hard work in the last two years. He made me believe I can compete with the best in the world again. He changed and revived my career,” said Saina Nehwal. The former World No 1, whose achievements include Silver at All England, World Championship; Gold at India Open Super Series and Syed Modi Grand Prix, said it was a dream come true.
Art – Cinema
It has been a whirlwind year for ‘desi girl’ Priyanka Chopra, who started off the year on a high with the People’s Choice award for her role in American TV Show Quantico, becoming the first South Asian actress to win the honour. Priyanka Chopra is also a singer and had launched her first international single In My City in 2012. “What a January.. And now to get the PadmaShri!!!!! I can’t even contain my excitement.Being the daughter of army officers this is so special,” the Bollywood actress and former Miss World said on Twitter.
Art – Cinema
Anupam Kher has appeared in several hundred films and plays. He has also appeared in acclaimed international films such as the 2002 Golden Globe nominated Bend It Like Beckham, Ang Lee’s 2007 Golden Lion winning Lust, Caution, and David O Russell’s 2013 Oscar winning Silver Linings Playbook. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004. Even as he thanked his family, friends, directors and writers on Twitter, Kher also tweeted, “Miss my father. He was my biggest fan. For him i was d Bestest. I dedicate my PADMA BHUSHAN to him. Dad! Have a party where ever you are.:).”